Explainer: Measure K, county sales tax

Santa Cruz County government building on Ocean St. in Santa Cruz.

Measure K is a proposed sales tax hike that would raise about $10 million annually from July 2025 forward. The General Fund was about $740 million in Fiscal Year 2023-2024. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

In the March 5 election, Measure K will ask Santa Cruz County voters whether to raise the sales tax in unincorporated parts of the county to 9.5% from 9%.

  • The tax hike would start July 1 and raise about $10 million annually.
  • Legally, the money could be used for any purpose in the county’s General Fund. 
  • County supervisors pledged to spend the increased tax revenue on housing, workforce retention, homeless services, climate resiliency, county parks, road repair, infrastructure projects and other county services.

Santa Cruz County voters last approved a county sales tax hike in 2018 with Measure G. 

  • Measure G promised audited spending on emergency response, county parks and local roads, but there have been no audits, according to a 2022 Santa Cruz County Civil Grand Jury report.

Read more about Measure K

Stay informed on Santa Cruz County’s biggest issues.

Santa Cruz Local’s newsletter breaks down complex local topics and shows residents how to get involved.


Campaign money tallied in local races

Two headshots, side by side, of Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Joy Schendledecker, who are facing off in the March 5 election for the District 3 Santa Cruz City Council seat.

The District 3 Santa Cruz City Council candidates are Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, left, and Joy Schendledecker. (Contributed)

For the March 5 election, state, county and city governments recently reported campaign donations from Jan. 1-20. Santa Cruz Local has compiled the money and donors in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

District 1 Santa Cruz County Supervisor candidate donations as of Jan. 20

  • Lani Faulkner: $72,029
  • Manu Koenig: $74,069

District 3 Santa Cruz City Council candidate donations as of Jan. 20

  • Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson: $25,722
  • Joy Schendledecker: $6,970 

Read more about campaign money


Candidates for county supervisor, city council explain positions

Vote in red all capital letters with "Santa Cruz Local" in black text below. March 5 elections

This fall, Santa Cruz Local surveyed and interviewed residents across Santa Cruz County. We wanted to understand voters’ concerns so we could press the candidates ahead of the March 5 local elections. Nearly all of the candidates’ answers are now in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Find in-depth information about the following races: 

Santa Cruz County Supervisor District 1 (Live Oak, Pleasure Point, Soquel, Summit)

Santa Cruz City Council District 5 (UC Santa Cruz, Harvey West)

Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide


Explainer: Measure N, the Pajaro Valley Health Care District bond

A map of the Pajaro Valley Health Care District.

Pajaro Valley Health Care District’s northern border includes Rio Del Mar Boulevard, Freedom Boulevard, Browns Valley Road, Hazel Dell Road and the Santa Cruz County line. The district formed in February 2022 and includes parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. (Local Agency Formation Commission)

Measure N on the March 5 ballot would allow the Pajaro Valley Health Care District to issue $116 million in bonds to buy the land at Watsonville Community Hospital and make improvements. 

  • Property owners in the district would pay $24 per $100,000 of assessed property value annually for 30 years or until the bond is paid off.
  • The measure will appear on ballots of voters in the Pajaro Valley Health Care District. The district spans from Aptos to Las Lomas in Monterey County, with boundaries similar to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
  • The measure needs more than two-thirds of the vote to be adopted.

Read more about Measure N

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is supported by members, major donors, sponsors and grants for the general support of our newsroom. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Learn more about Santa Cruz Local and how we are funded.

Learn about membership
Santa Cruz Local’s news is free. We believe that high-quality local news is crucial to democracy. We depend on locals like you to make a meaningful contribution so everyone can access our news.
Learn about membership